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How BJJ does wonders for your fitness

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is famous for its self-defence credentials, and for being the foundation of modern MMA. But many of the people who train at Gracie Botany don’t do so to become UFC fighters, or even for self-defence. BJJ is fun, and it’s great for your fitness.

And any personal trainer or health guru will tell you, there’s no point staying on a program that’s unsustainable. Martial arts in general and BJJ in particular is a great way to stay in shape for the simple reason that, unlike other types of exercise, it’s not a chore.

Jiu-Jitsu has been equated to human chess because strategy, not athleticism, is king. That means it’s a martial art that can be trained by men and women of any body size and shape. You fit your BJJ game to your body, making it accessible to everyone.

Once you become acquainted with the basics of Jiu-Jitsu, you’ll find yourself getting tremendous workouts from intense sparring. If you’re considering giving BJJ a try, come into Gracie Botany for a free trial lesson.

gracie botany no-gi bjj classes beginners and advanced

Wait! I don’t know what Jiu-Jitsu is

Not a problem. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all about taking an opponent to the ground and then subduing them in a way where they can’t hurt you. You’ll also learn ways to submit assailants with chokes and joint locks, should a situation call for that.

As that description suggests, BJJ exclusively focuses on grappling. That means, unlike Karate, Kung Fu and Kickboxing, there’s no striking. It’s more similar to the likes of Judo and wrestling, which also completely eschew punches and kicks.

Judo puts most of its focus on slamming a standing opponent to the ground. Wrestling, meanwhile, is all about pinning an opponent’s shoulders to the mat for 3 seconds. Jiu-Jitsu is unique because it doesn’t end when you’re on your back. In fact, BJJ features a system called The Guard that allows you to attack and submit opponent’s from your back.

In other words, Jiu-Jitsu only ends with a submission. Crucially, all of its techniques are developed with the idea of defending yourself against larger, stronger opponents. A well-trained BJJ practitioner can wrap a larger foe up into a pretzel, which is why the martial art has such strong self-defence credentials.

Great! And it’s good for fitness?

It sure is. At Gracie Botany, we run classes like this. You’ll arrive and do a 10-15 minute warm up. This features a bit of running and other movements to get your blood flowing, plus drills that focus on BJJ-specific movements. Most of these movements, from the hip escape to the sit out, will fire up your core.

We then go over a series of techniques for 20-25 minutes. These can be counters, sweeps, submissions, or any number of things. As you’ll discover, Jiu-Jitsu is a complex martial art. Once it hooks you, it becomes an addictive workout.

And then the fun part. Each class ends with 15-20 minutes of live sparring. Because BJJ avoids slamming and striking, it’s possible for students with 6-12 months of experience to train at full intensity with minimal injury risk.

It goes without saying that rolling is an exhausting workout. You’ll stimulate every major muscle group – there’s push, pull and plenty of leg action – and sweat a lot. Depending on how you choose to train, Jiu-Jitsu works both your aerobic and anaerobic cardiovascular systems. It’s beneficial for your muscles, weight loss and for cardio.

In short, it’s good for your fitness.

How can I expect BJJ to change my body?

Of course, reasonable expectations are important. Jiu-Jitsu is great for your muscles, and especially for your core, but it’s not the same as weight training. If you’re hoping to pack on 10 kilograms of muscle, you’ll want to head to the weight room instead.

But those looking to lose weight and tone up their body can absolutely do so with Jiu-Jitsu. To accelerate progress, make sure you eat plenty of meat (or animal-friendly proteins) and vegetables, drinks lots of water, and get a good amount of sleep.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your fitness, certainly consider a martial art. You’ll not only get in better shape, but you’ll also learn handy self-defence skills and have lots of fun. Where’s the downside?

If you’re curious about Jiu-Jitsu, come into our Gracie Botany academy for a free trial.